Table 3

The four analytical categories that explain the process and meaning of quitting unassisted, with illustrative quotes

CategoryParticipant quotes
Prioritising lay knowledge
▸ Valuing personal experiences
▸ Being influenced by shared/collective knowledge
I've done this, I've done the gum before, it's my turn to just do it by myself with common sense and willpower.’ Female, 57 years old
I've known a couple of people around town that have tried to give up with patches and that and they've gone 3 or 4 weeks and they've started smoking again and all that.’ Female, 52 years old
I've got friends that have used the patches and the gum a lot. They've been unsuccessful. They've done the gum and the patches, I don't know how many times. They've spent so much money on them, and they just cannot make it work.’ Female, 31 years old
Well [assistance] hadn't worked in the past and I didn't think—I'd come to the realisation that it was just in the mind, it was just a matter of willpower, it was just a matter of saying no and sticking to it.’ Male, 59 years old
Evaluating assistance against unassisted quitting
▸ Weighing up the ‘value’ assistance brings to them and their quit attempt (is it worth using assistance to quit?)
▸ Wanting to save money now (spending money to quit is irrational, especially on something that brings no ‘pleasure’)
▸ Wanting to quit ‘instantly’, be a non-smoker now (which assistance does not allow)
▸ Disliking the ‘inconvenience’ of assistance (assistance is too complicated, too fiddly)
▸ Associating assistance with additional effort (eg, adopting new, but temporary, routines)
It was a big thing that if I'm going to save money by not smoking then why should I spend money on not smoking.’ Male, 45 years old
The cigarettes, that's the fun. Why would you spend $20 on non-fun? ’ Female, 34 years old
I found [NRT] expensive. I thought that if you're going to get nicotine anyway at least there should be some positive reason for it.’ Female, 56 years old
If I'm going to quit smoking I'm going to do it cold turkey and get it over and done with.’ Female, 52 years old
I went to the GP and he said oh, you need to continue to smoke though for a couple of—what was it? It is a week? I was like oh no, but I want to stop now.’ Female, 34 years old
It's too much of a hassle… You've got to go out and buy the thing. You've got to stick it on or chew it or unwrap it.’ Male, 61 years old
Believing quitting is their personal responsibility
▸ Smoking and quitting are personal problems (and the responsibility of the individual)
▸ Smoking and quitting are not medical conditions
▸ The smoker is best placed to know how to quit, what will work
It's my problem. Not problem, I think that's a bad choice of words, but I was the one smoking.’ Male, 28 years old
That's so important that you don't make an issue out of it. It is a personal—you're right. You are so right. It is a personal thing.’ Male, 61 years old
Yeah, okay, I screwed up, I smoked for years, I really need to do something about this and cope with it.’ Female, 57 years old
I'm not much of someone to go to a doctor unless there was, unless I thought there was a serious problem with myself I don't normally go to a doctor.’ Male, 45 years old
I'm independent and I'm stubborn and that's the only way that I knew how to do it. I wasn't going to—I'm not a person to ask for help. So I don't think I would have asked for help to quit smoking.‘ Female, 31 years old
OK I did the Champix, I stopped for maybe—I can't remember if it was 2 or 3 months—but like it didn't work because it actually, the change sort of wasn't from within,’ Female, 56 years old
I think quitting cold turkey, you're going to have more chance of actually [staying] a non-smoker, if you quit cold turkey....because I think that you need that willpower to stay motivated to not smoke.’ Female, 31 years old
Because grand scheme of things, it's always your willpower that's going to stop you. So you might be able to use other methods to help you quit smoking, but six months down the track, you need to have that willpower to stop you doing that again.’ Female, 31 years old
I feel a sense of accomplishment in knowing that I did it cold turkey. Knowing that I didn't have to go to other means to do it. That I was able to use my willpower.’ Female, 31 years old
Perceiving quitting unassisted to be the ‘right’ or ‘better’ choice
▸ Quitting unassisted is the ‘best’ way to quit
▸ Equating quitting unassisted with being serious about quitting
I think I just didn't want to [use assistance], I just felt that for me to do it properly I actually had to be able to do it myself.’ Female, 50 years old
[Taking medication] had crossed my mind, but I'm a fairly stubborn person I suppose. I don't really—I believe that I should be able to do it myself, without those sorts of things.’ Male, 31 years old
I think that if you're truly committed you don't need anything ’ Female, 56 years old